We have been at or near capacity for the last few years. So, we turned to a management philosophy called Continuous Performance Improvement (CPI) to help us accommodate more patients and we were able to serve 38,000 patients last year, up from 27,000 in 2004 without expanding.

But, even with that increased capacity we still reached the limits of our facility and had to divert some patients who needed our care to other hospitals.  There is nothing worse, as a parent, than finding out the hospital meant for children is full and unable to admit your child. All of us at Children’s owe it to the children of the Northwest to have a bed available when they need it.

So, what are the reasons we need to expand?

– Advances in medical care for children with chronic conditions has improved and many of these children live into adulthood. But this also means they need specialized medical care during their youth/adolescence, including frequent and lengthy hospital admissions.  These children account for 50% of the patients we see at Children’s on any given day.

– The increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, developmental disorders and the rising rates of infant prematurity and childhood obesity are placing added stress on pediatric hospitals nationwide. A 2007 study published by the Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA) projects inpatient days for pediatric diseases will grow at 3.1% annually through 2010. At Children’s, the growth in 2007 alone was double this amount — 6%.

– National standards of care set the optimal occupancy rate for pediatric specialty hospitals at 65%. This standard is to ensure that the appropriate types of beds are available for emergency admissions and to reflect the unpredictable nature of pediatric disease outbreaks. Today, Children’s is operating at unprecedented levels, ranging from 85% to 100% occupancy year-round.

– The number of children in our region is projected to grow by 21% in the next 20 years

The New York Times recently visited our hospital to learn about the ways we used CPI to streamline our facilities and staff, while still providing excellent patient care.

You can get a first-hand look at our capacity issues and the impact on patients, families and staff by watching this video – please note that the subject matter may be uncomfortable for some viewers.